Struggling…

by Stephen Kealy

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FRONTLINE as a publication is experiencing the chill of recession and we struggle to find sufficient funds for each issue. Frontline’s survival depends on increasing its subscription base. You, our readership, are positive in your comments, but of course not all readers are subscribers. The annual individual subscription is small (€26 annually), as are the rates for parents and friends’ organisations and service providers.

Frontline welcomes your suggestions for improving the magazine content and layout. As a publication, Frontline can and does showcase the excellent work of service providers, self-advocates, parent associations and the achievements of people with intellectual disability.

The recession Budget 2010 will have an impact on our whole country, but particularly on those who are poor or have a disability. There is a financial cost to families with a son or daughter with a disability. The cuts to the carers allowance and disability benefit will impact disproportionately on vulnerable people who require support and attention to achieve a decent quality of life. Carers provide these supports— putting their own lives on hold—for their disabled son, daughter or family member.

It is reassuring to read Minister of State for Disability John Moloney’s commitment that he will bring forward to government early in 2010 proposals to protect adults with a disability in disability services funded by the state.

The proposed investment in mental health services is also welcomed, but cognisance must be taken of the need to address mental health issues in a holistic manner. Many people with mental health difficulties find themselves living in environments which do anything but promote good mental health—many have lived lost lives because of this lack of understanding. This renewed commitment by government is welcome, but it must be converted into recognisable actions on the ground. Otherwise, the hopelessness of many will continue.

This issue of Frontline contains many examples of good practice, initiatives and innovations. All the articles reflect a commitment to improving the lives of people with intellectual disabilities and their families. Evaluation is cited as an important recurring need to ensure the relevance and quality agenda in services.

The importance of sex education is stressed, as is the danger of seeing people with an intellectual disability as asexual. The report on sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Dublin and other past reports demand that we all take a proactive role in ensuring that vulnerable people are protected. Frontline has received many examples of art work—sent in by individuals and groups around the country. These reflect enormous skill and talent, with form and movement catching the attention of the viewer. It would be an extraordinary and reprehensible step if any of those projects were cut to save costs.

Beannachtaí na Nollag agus na hAthbhliana.

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